Those Who Have Served Need to Heal
By Emily Walsh

Many brave Americans have served their country, and as Veterans Day draws near, we think
about what they have endured to preserve our freedom. At times, the after-effects of coping with
what they experienced in combat can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and
other health conditions. When any of these problems are misdiagnosed or go untreated, the entire
family is adversely affected.

PTSD can result in angry outbursts, difficulty sleeping and failure to communicate with family
members. The combination of fatigue and a high stress level can result in problems at home and
poor job performance as well. In addition, PTSD, which is considered to be a mental health issue,
can also lead to physical problems such as frequent back aches and neck pain. Although PTSD
has no known cure, therapy is considered to be helpful.

Many people who have served in the military were exposed to dangerous chemicals, including
asbestos and Agent Orange. Illnesses like mesothelioma, a type of cancer, and diabetes are
caused by these exposures, and families should become familiar with these health conditions and
ensure that their veteran receives the right medical treatment.

Ideally, anyone who has left the military and is dealing with these problems as a private citizen will
seek employment that has paid sick time and a certain amount of flexibility. When paid sick time
is used as a mental health day, both the veteran and the family have an opportunity to “de-stress.”
However, if this benefit is lacking, the veteran may not receive the proper level of care, and
tension can increase, especially when there are children in the home too young to comprehend
the nature of the problem.

Finally, note that it is especially important for military families to look out for one another. Those
who serve in the military may face certain health risks, but coping with these problems is closely
related to how they are handled. While they may have access to veterans’ assistance and other
programs, when their families are sympathetic and employers allow a certain amount of flexibility,
the desired outcome is easier to attain.

MUCH GRATITUDE TO ALL OUR COURAGEOUS MILITARY MEN AND WOMEN AND
THEIR FAMILIES.